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Avoiding Static Damage when dusting inside of PC

3334 Views 10 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  kenbok51
Hello, I just spoke with a computer service worker who told me I run a high risk of damaging my pc tower if I open it and dust it myself with compressed air cans. I have not seen any major warnings concerning this issue during my online research into the topic. I have never done this before, and it has been five years since I first got this pc, and it most certainly needs dusting inside. Is there a definitive guide to cleaning out a pc? Every tutorial seems to be different. Some say use paintbrushes, some say that will cause harmful static, etc. I am not sure whether i am supposed to be taking parts out and cleaning them separately, unplugging things from each other, or what.

And, I am confused about how to de-static myself and the work environment. How do I eliminate static from myself before working? Do I have to use an antistatic bracelet?

ANY solid information concerning how to safely clean a pc tower would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
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That's probably because they want you to bring it to them so they can charge you to do it.

I have been dusting out PC's for almost 20 years. Never once did I wear an antistatic wristband or "de static" myself. All you do is remove the side cover and simply spray the air around the inside to remove the dust.

The exception is if you need to physically touch any of the components, then you may want to de "static" yourself.

It's more for if/when you're actually removing/installing components inside.
Did the Service tech actually say "static discharge with spray cans" ???
I've heard this can be a problem if using an air compressor ??
He may have been thinking other problems.

I always manually stop the fans from spinning when cleaning.
I had a fan go bad right after cleaning, I assume it was from over spinning the fan with the Air.

Unless my other hand is stopping a fan with my favorite Non-Metallic Wooden Chop-Stick :D ...
I grab the case to de-static myself and the Air Can just to be sure.

Use Short bursts of air .. This will stop condensation and possibly spraying water.
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If you've had your desktop/tower for 5 years, and depending on the environment it's exposed to, a heavy accumulation of dust isn't surprising.
A very dusty interior can cause overheating, freezing, slowness, etc., so blowing it out on a regular "as needed" basis is a good idea.

I gave up using pressurized cans of air a long time ago.
Besides their cost, using them improperly can cause damage and condensation build-up.
A cheap portable hair dryer on its highest fan speed and cooling temperature setting works well for me.

And unless you like having a very dusty home, make sure to take your desktop/tower OUTSIDE to blow it out.

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I agree with Noyb about manually stopping the fans from spinning when cleaning. You can use a pencil. I have heard also of fans failing from overspinning with canned air.
Also that is not just air in those cans so be careful :"Common duster gases are 1,1-difluoroethane, 1,1,1-trifluoroethane, or 1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane. Hydrocarbons, like butane, were often used in the past, but their flammable nature forced manufacturers to use fluorocarbons. When inhaled, gas duster fumes may produce psychoactive effects and may be harmful to health"
Hello and thank you for the quick replies! I actually do plan to pull out the graphics card and dust it separately. I am also wondering about cleaning it outside. There is a huge amount of dust in the air from a construction site behind the house. Could this dust cause more damage than the house-dust I am planning to expel? Also, there are quite a few bugs, such as hornets and mosquitoes, flying around at all times. If one of them buzzed into the open tower (possibly deciding to land on the motherboard) could this cause static electricity damage? I've already ordered four cans of compressed air and I really would like to do the job myself, but now i am wondering about other unforseen disasters, especially since you mentioned that duster can air can be toxic, so my alternate plan to dust in the washer/dryer room may be a bad idea (no ventilation).

Thanks for your advice!
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What I do is unhook everything, mark the cables if you don't know where they go. Then bring it outside on the front porch and sit it in a chair. Hook up a box fan to blow the clouds away (ha ha) Then dust out there. One can is usually sufficient. Some times you have to remove the fan off the CPU heat sink to clean the heat sink completely. I was telling you about the hazards of the canned air, should be used in large rooms with the door open or outside.
Some times you have to remove the fan off the CPU heat sink to clean the heat sink completely.
I've had to do that on occasion with a very clogged heat sink unit which can't be blown out properly while the cooling fan unit is still attached.
If you don't clean it properly, the processor can overheat, which in turn can lead to slow performance and freezes.

This is where learning to build your own PC can be extremely helpful when it comes time for a real good cleaning. Since you put it together, taking it apart is not as big an issue as with OEM builds.

Static electricity is usually a bigger problem in cold climates in the winter where the furnace drys out the home air which can cause static problems. In the summer it's less an issue because of the humidity. One Rule: Do not scoot across the carpet in your stocking feet while rubbing a balloon on your head before working on your PC and you should be OK.

When you open the side of the case and touch any grounded metal (like the metal frame inside the case) you will discharge any static harmlessly to ground. The PC should be plugged into the wall and the power supply switched on (even if the PC is shutdown) to get a good grounding. Afterwords disconnect the power and go to work.
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"The PC should be plugged into the wall and the power supply switched on (even if the PC is shutdown) to get a good grounding. Afterwords disconnect the power and go to work".

This is a big mistake to do.
You should always have your computer disconnected at all times when servicing your computer.
Repair or clean your computer in an area where there is no carpet in the room. Always touch the metal frame tower frequently (unplugged) to discharge any static from your body or use an antistatic wrist strap and clip it to some metal part of your metal tower.
You misunderstand. Open case door, touch metal frame, unplug from wall and go to work. Touching the frame during work happens pretty much automatically while your working. All of my rooms where I am now have carpeting and I have had no issues ever.
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